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Brewing Up Fun at Southerleigh


The open kitchen at Southerleigh.

The open kitchen at Southerleigh.

Chef Jeff Balfour is dishing up his brand of Texas cross-cultural cuisine to Southerleigh Fine Food and Brewery, which is now open at 136 E. Grayson in the Pearl Brewery.

Southerleigh plans to offer numereous beers on tap in addition to the ones brewed in house.

Southerleigh plans to offer numereous beers on tap in addition to the ones brewed in house.

As of Thursday’s opening, Southerleigh is already considered to be the 10th largest brewpub in the country.

So you can sip on a Seawall Belgian Wheat or a Darwinian IPA while dining on Pecan-Crusted Flounder, Old School Stuffed Crab, Braised Oxtail Pie or Brick-Griddled Diamond H Quail with oyster stuffing.

Starters range from freshly made pretzels to shrimp bisque to a roasted beet salad, while desserts include a wood-oven baked apple pie and, because it’s the season, strawberry shortcake with buttermilk sorbet.

Southerleigh houses a custom-manufactured brewery designed by Portland Kettle Works. Brewer William Les Locke Jr. has ensured that the new brewery sets new standards in San Antonio’s evolving brewing scene. It has a 15-barrel brew house, six serving tanks, and an extensive firkin/wood barrel-aging program. Southerleigh plans to offer up to twenty different beers on tap, including three hand engine, which will be available in flights or by the glass, bottle or growler. Current offerings also include the light Parsel Smash; Conjunction Curry Porter, an English porter with flavors of mustard seed, turmeric, fenugreek, cumin, curry powders, and black pepper; and a coconut porter.

Spooning up Shrimp Bisque.

Spooning up Shrimp Bisque.

Austin-based architects Clayton & Little and interior designer Joel Mozersky of Austin’s Joel Mozersky Design have worked together to design the space, which honors Pearl’s historic brew house with refurbished designs while also reflecting Balfour’s coastal southern cuisine.

The 7,900-square-foot space boasts multiple dining options, including bar seating, patio seating, and a private dining room housed in one of the original grain silos that can seat up to twenty people. Additional private dining in the north dining room will hold seating up to seventy-five people, and Southerleigh will have the capacity to host parties up to two hundred people.

Southerleigh is now open daily from 6 to 11 p.m. for dinner with the bar opening at 5 p.m. and staying open until midnight. Lunch will be added in a few weeks. For more information, visit www.southerleigh.com.

Kasey McCullough is Southerleigh's lab tech.

Kasey McCullough is Southerleigh’s lab tech.

Oak Grilled Gulf Red Snapper over Shrimp and Pork Jowl Soubise.

Oak Grilled Gulf Red Snapper over Shrimp and Pork Jowl Soubise.

 

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Get a Sneak Peek of Southerleigh


Chef Jeff Balfour shows some of the beers at Southerleigh that are being barrel-aged.

Chef Jeff Balfour shows some of the beers at Southerleigh are being barrel-aged.

The beers are aging in their tanks and barrels. The brick oven has been set up in the kitchen, and test runs are in progress. The serving dishes have been delivered. The final steps are being put in place before Southerleigh opens at the Pearl Brewery.

southerleigh8The latest restaurant and brewery in the complex will be a showplace for Texas and Southern comfort food with a coastal influence, says chef Jeff Balfour, a Galveston native and fan of what the gulf has to offer. Plus, you can expect some foods, from mussels to pretzels, designed to pair with the beers on tap.

The exact opening date still isn’t certain, but Balfour is hopeful to have the certificate of occupancy by the beginning of the April. A preview party is being held March 29 as part of the closing festivities of San Antonio Beer Week.

In the meantime, the chef has been putting the finishing touches on his menu, while head brewer Les Locke gets his beers ready for the taps. In addition to the series of copper and stainless tanks, Locke is also aging some of his beers in pinot noir barrels from A to Z Wineworks, the winery in which Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich is a partner; others are in old bourbon or rum barrels.

Dishes for mussels and fries

Dishes for mussels and fries

There’s still plenty of work to be done, but major steps are being taken each day.

Out front, workers are making sure the garden space is ready for the first Sunday Pearl Farmers Market, which begins this weekend.

Inside Southerleigh, workers were just as busy. On Thursday, they hung a new chandelier made from pieces found in the original Pearl Brewery.

The designer didn’t want to overdo the old pieces but wanted to make sure that those used would stand out. They include a Pearl clock at the host’s stand by the door, roller conveyors over the open kitchen and the facades of the old brew tanks. They also include the original pillars, which are not being painted but being shown in their aged glory.

When it’s finished, Southerleigh’s main dining area will seat about 140, while extra space can be had in front of the open kitchen, in the bar and out on the patio. A private dining room for up to 15 will be housed in the silo out front.

For more information, click here.

A view of the Southerleigh dining area from above

A view of the Southerleigh dining area from above

Tanks in the afternoon light

Tanks in the afternoon light

New tanks behind the facade of the old

New tanks behind the facade of the old

Beer waiting to be tapped

Beer waiting to be tapped

The new chandelier

The new chandelier at Southerleigh

 

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Chef Jeff Balfour’s Going to Open His Own Restaurant at the Pearl


The buzz this week is that San Antonio chef Jeff Balfour, who opened Citrus at the Hotel Valencia, is planning a restaurant of his own at the Pearl Brewery. The restaurant will be located on the ground floor of the historic brew house on the property in fall 2014.

Jeff Balfour

Jeff Balfour

“I am honored to be a part of such an amazing development,” Balfour says. “We are going to focus on the relationships between great food, great beer and being part of a great community. The idea of a great place for people to gather and collaborate is at the heart of our concept.”

Balfour has been in San Antonio since 2002 and began his culinary career in the city at Hotel Valencia Riverwalk. Under his direction, Citrus Restaurant became known for its innovate menus as well as its paella, which won Balfour several awards.

No name has been announced yet.

In the last few years, the Pearl has become home to a growing number of venues offering food and drink, including, in alphabetical order, Arcade Midtown Kitchen, the Blue Box, Boiler House Texas Grill and Wine Garden, the CIA Bakery and Cafe, the Granary ‘Cue and Brew, Green Vegetarian Cuisine, Il Sogno, La Gloria, Nao, ne Lucky Duck Juice & Takeaway, and the Sandbar. Steven McHugh’s Cured is also opening soon.

 

 

 

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Griffin to Go: A Saturday Filled with Savory Aromas, Flavors


Tellez Tamales serves a hot tamal at the Pearl Brewery.

What’s better than one food-filled event? A day with three, of course.

A paella gift basket at GauchoGourmet.

Such was the case Saturday.

It began in the late morning with a trip to GauchoGourmet, 935 Isom Road, where Bonnie Walker and I were signing copies of “Food Lovers’ Guide to San Antonio” (Globe Pequot Press, $14.95) while managing to get in a little Christmas shopping at the same time.

The gourmet warehouse is a fun place to find everything from stocking stuffers to full-scale gifts, and the Ciorciari family will gladly package your items for you. They offer an assortment of gift baskets, too, which you can stock with everything from Spanish fig jam or a bottle of Cuisine Perel Spicy Pecan Vinegar. If you want to let them do the picking for you, you can get any number of themed baskets, such as the paella assortment, which comes with everything from rice to chorizo arranged in a pan to cook it in.

Dirk Troop

GauchoGourmet brings together food lovers from all backgrounds and offers them the chance to talk about their favorite topic. Philippe Wilhelm from the Westin La Cantera brought in the resort’s new executive chef, Dirk Troop. The chef, who is from Puerto Rico and who spoke at the Culinary Institute of America’s Latin Flavors, American Kitchens conferences a few years ago, mentioned that he wanted to meet the area’s farmers, so it was his good fortune that Heather Hunter and David Lent of the Quarry Farmers and Ranchers Market happened to be there as well and took the opportunity to talk.

Leslie Garcia of the Rockhill Cooking Academy dropped by, as did food writer Ron Bechtol and a number of people who mentioned how much they enjoy the pleasures of cooking at home. Out front was the Primo Passo Pizzeria truck, which was dishing out plenty of pies, many of which feature ingredients from the store.

What tamales are your favorite?

From there, it was on to the Pearl Brewery, where the third annual Tamales! Holiday Festival had taken over a large portion of the property. The lot in back was filled with tamales from the likes of Tellez on South General McMullen, Los Reyes from Castroville Road and Tejas Barbacoa of Bandera Road in Helotes.

Out by the Lab Building, there were more tamales from Tamahli on Wurzbach Road and Paloma Blanca on Broadway. For those who could only eat so many tamales, there were also dishes such as a fiery posole from Jesse T. Perez’s upcoming Arcade Midtown Kitchen, which should be open after the first of the year in the Pearl, and sopes from Citrus’ Jeff Balfour. He heaped the corn cake with shrimp and an achiote coleslaw. The aroma of the corn cakes frying in a paella pan at the back of booth provided its own intoxicating element.

At the tequila tasting.

Those in search of liquid intoxicants could be found in a lengthy line that curved out of the Stables, where a tequila tasting was being offered. El Milagro, 1800 and Tanteo Jalapeño were all part of the lineup.

Thousands of people packed the area, filling the walkways under strands of brightly colored papeles picados and giving the whole event the feeling of being an autumn version of A Night in Old San Antonio.

Coffee from around the world.

La Villita, the regular home of NIOSA, was busy hosting its own event, the San Antonio Coffee Festival, which you could smell long before you arrived on the scene. A number of coffee roasters were on hand to grind, brew and pour all manner of coffee to the energetic crowd. Seminars on everything from iced coffee to civet cat coffee were on the menu, but the tastings were what caught people’s fancy.

Discussions of certain brew’s acidity levels, aromas and aftertastes were reminiscent of the talk at wine tastings and were delivered with the same vigor. And even though temperatures were in the 80s during the afternoon, hot cups of joe made with beans from countries as diverse as Ethiopia, Kenya and Costa Rica were consumed by most everyone present.

It was a great way to finish off a day filled with fine flavors.

Fine brews fill the San Antonio Coffee Festival.

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Rosemary’s Kitchen Gets Cooking


Rosemary Kowalski

San Antonio knows Rosemary Kowalski for the catering that her company, the RK Group, has provided for the past 66 years. But now she has a new project on the front burner. She’s teamed up with SA Youth to launch Rosemary’s Kitchen, a culinary training program designed to help underprivileged youth ages 16-24.

“We want to help recover high school dropouts,” Cynthia Le Monds, CEO of SA Youth told a crowd that had braved the rains to pour into the Mission Verde Center, formerly Cooper Middle School.

The 27-year-old community group helps kids with educational programs that focus on their getting a diploma while they take part in workforce training programs that prepare them for jobs in construction and computer technology. The information has been put to use building energy-efficient homes in town.

Now Rosemary’s Kitchen will help people who have an interest in learning more about the culinary arts, restaurant work and catering. A community cafe will be part of the project.

Kowalski has been involved with the project from the beginning — and not just by lending her name, Le Monds said: “She was involved in the design, she helped select the equipment. … Rosemary put so much into the development of Rosemary’s Kitchen.”

John Brand’s open-faced grilled cheese sandwiches

“In my 66 years in the food business, I have always dreamed of helping someone have a place to teach culinary arts that would help our city,” Kowalski said. “I never dreamed that someone would offer to name a kitchen after me. I’ve always talked about wanting to help young people change their lives by becoming chefs and helping them realize their talents. Now we’re able to do this thanks to SA Youth.”

Her devotion to the cause was rewarded with the announcement of a $25,000 donation from H-E-B. Le Monds urged the gathering and the community at large to contribute as well to the non-profit program, “in whatever way is meaningful for you. … Any amount that you feel you can pledge will be appreciated.”

Jason Cardenas makes nitrogen Rice Krispie treats

Students in the program were on hand to serve treats that the RK Group had donated, including lobster corn dogs and tiny cones filled with chicken salad. In the meantime, a handful of RK’s chefs were joined by some of the city’s finest, including Johnny Hernandez from La Gloria,  to present playful takes on cafeteria favorites.

Jeff Balfour of Citrus served up chicken nuggets, John Brand of Las Canarias offered grilled cheese with pickled artichoke hearts and olives, and Jason Dady of Bin 555 and Tre Trattoria had square pizza. Eric Nelson of RK offered stuffed meatloaf in the form of meatballs and mac ‘n’ cheese gratin with a Goldfish crust and truffle shavings on top. Most of us never had anything nearly as good. And in a nod to chemistry class crossed with trendy molecular cooking, there were nitrogen Rice Krispie treats.

For more about SA Youth or for information on making a donation, visit www.sanantonioyouth.org or call (210) 223-3131.

Jason Dady’s square pizza

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Burgers, BBQ and Beer — a Match Made in San Antonio Heaven


Michael Alvarez of the Grand Hyatt offers braised beef on a wheat bun.

Culinaria wound up five days of celebrating the finest in San Antonio food and spirits scene with an event that is tailored made for Texan tastes: Burgers, BBQ and Beer.

Sure, some wine and alcohol were thrown for good measure, but the highlights for the hundreds who thronged to the Pearl Brewery were treats such as the Wagyu beef burgers and lobster rolls that John Brand’s team from Las Canarias and Ostra served up.

Chef Jesse Perez of the upcoming Arcade restaurant offered up a chorizo burger, while Steve Warner of Two Step Restaurant served pulled pork with slaw on a buttery bun. Chef Michael Flores from Sur la Table offered pulled pork, too, but he complemented his with pulled shrimp.

John Brand is engulfed in smoke as he prepares burgers.

Jeff Balfour of Citrus won fans with a decidedly different rabbit burger with cheese and Dijon mustard; the bottles of Shiner Wild Hare Pale Ale that he and his staff used to fight off the heat were not chosen because of the meat, Balfour said with a laugh. Shere Henrici of the Rolling Pig had an Asian-influenced sweet and sour pork dish with peanuts adding crunch to the sauce.

Michael Alvarez was part of the Grand Hyatt team, which  served up three-day braised beef with house-made giardinara and a raspberry gelatin  shooter that had a touch of chocolate in it.

The array of burgers included patties made of sausage, venison and other meats came from the likes of Magnolia Pancake Haus, the Esquire Tavern and EZ’s, while barbecue came from Ben E. Keith and Q on the Riverwalk among others.

For those who partied a little too much the previous night at the Grand Tasting or wherever the party may have been, Jason Dady offered Bloody Mary’s with a smoky barbecue flavor.

Pet the possum? Sure, just not around the head.

Bakery Lorraine and Flour Power were among those offering sweets, with macarons in several flavors, brownies, cookies and cake bites drawing snackers of all ages.

For those in search of something a little different, Kameron Bean of Wild Times Edutainment brought a possum, a hedgehog and a non-fragrant skunk for people to pet. The shaded area drew plenty of interested visitors, as did the mister area, which helped take an edge off the warm day.

The sun made an icy beer all the more welcome, as Culinaria closed out its festival season on a high note.

 

 

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Tasting the Best of Mexico a Breeze at Culinaria


Las Canarias serves Pork Pipian with shaved radish, micro cilantro, toasted pepitas and jicama on top.

Jeff Balfour (center) of Citrus offers a plate of paella.

One of the reliable “best” events at Culinaria was Friday’s Best of Mexico, an indoor-outdoor festival of flavor from some of San Antonio’s most savvy chefs and cooks and a few from Mexico at La Villita. As it has been for the rest of the festival so far, the weather was one of the most welcome guests of all, clear and breezy, and turning cool as the sun set on the outdoor patio.

As its name suggests, the fare was concentrated on regional Mexican specialties — ceviches and shredded pork topped with a spicy green pipian, a homey tortilla soup with a sturdy chicken broth and plenty of cilantro, barbacoa tacos and shrimp tacos, a citrus-y dish of beef salpicon, and citrus-marinated pork belly as well as horchata cake for a sweet finish. The fresh garnishes, a must-have when it comes to this style of casual Mexican food, were part of the glory of the dishes, offering the crunch of cabbage, sliced radishes, lime wedges, and handmade salsas.

Guests enjoy tastes of tequila and vodka at Best of Mexico.

While a stage band offered a lively mix of tunes, from salsa to U2, sips of wine, including Mexican wine, sips of tequila or vodka, margaritas, Mexican beer and even iced-down water quenched the thirst some of the spicier dishes offered.

A few restaurants offered cooking demonstrations by preparing their food on site. These included Jeff Balfour and his team from Citrus in the Hotel Valencia, which had a huge pan of paella cooking while they handed out samples, and Teka Molina, which fried their dough so it was crispy and hot when stuffed with guacamole.

Chef Gabriel Villavicencio of Presidente Intercontinental Ixtapa offered a seafood  cocktail loaded with octopus, shrimp, scallops,  abalone and more.

Jaime Gonzales, sous chef at Las Canarias at La Mansion del Rio, took over for executive chef John Brand in organizing and preparing the food for the evening. A dish of his was a favorite of ours — a warm patty of tender, shredded pork, topped with a green, pipian (pumpkin seed) sauce that was warmly spicy. Fresh garnishes included crunchy jicama, radishes and cilantro sprouts.

Some of the other participating restaurants and food providers included Ostra, Paloma Blanca, Los Barrios and La Hacienda de los Barrios, chef Jesse Perez, Urban Taco, Ocho, Mariscos el Bucanero, the San Antonio Food Bank, True Flavors Catering, and Flour Power Cafe.

 

A pair of ducks wait near the entrance of La Villita.

Only those with tickets could enter. So, a pair of ducks took up a station near the exit, begging for treats from anyone leaving the party.

Culinaria continues with a day full of activities on Saturday, including the Grand Tasting under the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. Click here for a schedule of events.

Urban Taco serves up barbacoa and chicken tinga tacos.

 

 

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Paella and Perfect Weather, Just as Johnny Hernandez Ordered It


Zach Lutton of Zedric's makes his paella, which won second place in the challenge.

Ty-Lor Boring uses his burner to cook lobster.

Saturday did not end on a pretty note, in terms of weather. Cold, miserable rain left the ground saturated and spirits low. Luminaria had to be postponed, and hopes were not high for the third annual Paella Challenge at the Pearl Brewery.

"Top Chef" favorite Lindsay Autry

Yet on Sunday morning, the clouds fled the scene, leaving a healing sun in its wake that dried out the amphitheater and made for a perfect afternoon that drew hundreds of people who wanted to sample paella made by many of the city’s best chefs as well as several out-of-town visitors, including several chefs from the recent “Top Chef” Texas season.

Credit for the success of the event goes to organizer Johnny Hernandez, said David Kellaway, managing director of the Culinary Institute of America’s San Antonio campus, which is also at the brewery.

The event is a fundraiser for the culinary school as well as the educational arm of the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

“The energy and passion (Hernandez displays) towards educating our youth in the culinary arts cannot be quantified,” Kellaway said.

The student team from Lanier placed second in the new high school challenge.

Hernandez, who owns La Gloria Ice House and True Flavors Catering, had wanted the lot power washed before the event, and it seems as if God obliged, the school official joked.

The styles of paella varied greatly. Jason Dady and his crew presented a version blackened with squid ink yet brightened with fresh green herbs. The folks from Max’s Wine Dive offered a Texas paella with game meats and a chipotle butter. Visiting chef Tim McCarty from Minnesota offered three P’s: pork, prawns and popcorn, with ribs and pork belly in the mix.

Mustachioed chef  Ty-Lor Boring from “Top Chef” added a dramatic touch by firing his lobster directly in the flames of his burner. Last year’s champion, Jeff Balfour of Citrus at the Hotel Valencia, offered a paella that featured chicken and arrived topped with egg, which was meant to leave you wondering which came first.

Winning chef James Canter celebrates with his son.

In the end only three of more than two dozen entries would be honored. They were, in order, James Canter of Alhambra in McAllen; Zach Lutton of Zedric’s: Healthy Gourmet to Go, 9873 I-1o W.; and Peter Holt of Lupe Tortilla, which has a San Antonio location at 21103 U.S. 281 N.

Canter arrived at the winner’s table with his son perched high on one shoulder, prompting Kellaway to remark that he had already been given the best award of all.

This year, for the first time, San Antonio high schools were eligible to complete in their own division. Six schools showed up, including Burbank, John Jay, Lanier, McCollum, Memorial and Roosevelt. There was a lot riding on a terrific paella from the students, because the winning team will receive a four-day, all-expenses-paid trip to the CIA’s main campus in Hyde Park.

The winners, in order, were John Jay, Lanier and Memorial.

McCarty, who works for Sodexo, participated last year and was certainly enjoying himself once more. “As long as I make a great paella, I’m already a winner,” he said, while spooning up plates and handing them to the crowds that waited in line.

It's paella for all, with many of the chefs, including Steven McHugh of Luke, making multiple trays.

It's paella for all, with many of the chefs, including Steven McHugh of Luke, making multiple trays.

 

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Are You Ready for Paella? The Annual Challenge Returns March 11


Jeff Balfour's winning paella from 2011.

Have you ever wanted to taste the cooking of a few of the contestants on “Top Chef”? You’ll get your chance at the third annual Corona Paella Challenge on March 11.

Lindsay Autrey, who made it to the top three this season, will be at the Pearl Brewery, 200 E. Grayson St., for the event, along with Ty-Lor Boring and Keith Rhodes, both of whom were also involved in the season that was partially filmed in San Antonio.

Chef Jeff Balfour of Citrus in the Hotel Valencia, 150 E. Houston St., will be defending his title as champion of the event.

Other chefs making paella for the crowds to sample include Jeff Littlefield of Waterfront Resort, Tim McCarthy of the Mayo Foundation, Jhojans Priego of Villa Rica, cookbook author and Seasons of My Heart Cooking School chef instructor Susana Trilling, Jason Dady of Bin 555 and Tre Trattoria, Steven McHugh of Lüke, who placed second last year, and Jeffrey Axell and David Wirebaugh, both of the Hyatt hotels.

Enormous paella pans cook enough of this Spanish rice dish for 50 people at a time.

The event is hosted by chef Johnny Hernandez of La Gloria at the Pearl, and proceeds will benefit The Culinary Institute of America­, San Antonio, and the Educational Foundation of the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

“Our goal is to raise awareness about the world-renowned culinary campus we have here in San Antonio: The Culinary Institute of America,” Hernandez said. “We are committed to increasing the opportunities for scholarships and funding for young chefs interested in a career in the food industry.”

In addition to an array of outrageous and outrageously good paellas, there will be wines from Spain and a line of craft and imported beers.

San Antonio band Bachaco will perform its blend of reggae, dancehall, and ska mixed with South America’s own Caribbean legacy rhythm of Cumbia.

The event runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets cost $50 for adults or $25 for children under age 12. Tickets can be purchased at www.culinariasa.org/wine-festival/main/tickets.php and at Pearl during the event.

 

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Lines, Food, Spirits, Fun and More Lines


Barbara Hunt serves up a Mediterranean-style sandwich from Boardwalk Bistro.

Culinaria’s Grand Tasting is always an occasion for sampling excellent fare from the area’s best restaurants, fine wines and other spirits. But Saturday’s sold-out gathering was also a chance to mix and mingle with thousands of others while enjoying the evening.

Often that was while waiting in line for the likes of Jeff Balfour’s braised oxtail tostada from Citrus and John Brand’s combination of oysters from Ostra and pork belly from Las Canarias.

Guest chef Susana Trilling (right) from Oaxaca talks with Culinaria's director of development, Ginger McAnear.

It was the first time Ben Dorris had ever tried an oyster, but he braved a briny bivalve with friends Joe Carreon and Vanessa Jauer. He was not impressed with the texture, but his friends, who have had a little more oyster-eating experience, were.

The evening’s sponsor, Ambhar Tequila, offered samples of their silver, reposado and añejo tequilas as well as cocktails for those who wanted something in addition to the vast array of wines on hand. These ranged from the crisp Joseph Drouhin Puligny-Montrachet to the silky elegance of the Chalone Pinot Noir. Bottles of Belgian beer Stella Artois disappeared quickly during the balmy evening.

Diane Wiltz is one of the volunteers pouring wine at the Grand Tasting.

The long lines meant some restaurants had to stretch the food they brought, though each of the chefs and their restaurants brought enough for 1,500 servings. Barbara Hunt of Boardwalk Bistro started out serving a Mediterranean-style sandwich with lamb. When the lamb ran out, it became a vegetarian sandwich with a roasted tomato and some tzatziki sauce adding such bold flavors that no one really missed the meat.

Shea Ash of the Peach Cafe in Boerne handed out several treats, including a mini-muffuletta with olive salad from her business partner Nancy Fitch’s restaurant, the Pomegranate in Artisans Alley.

Guest chefs included Nordic chef Trine Hahnemann as well as Susana Trilling of Oaxaca, who hopes to have her new line of culinary products, including mole enhancers and salt from her region of Mexico, in area stores soon.

Chocolate truffles from Kirby’s and cake from Flour Power Cafe were among the choice desserts for those with a sweet tooth.

Long lines greet chef Jason Dady each year.

The longest lines were those waiting to sample the multi-course mini-meal prepared by Jason Dady’s restaurant group. As he has done in the past, Dady offered samples of dishes that represent his restaurants, which include the Lodge Restaurant of Castle Hills, Bin 555, Tre Trattoria, Two Bros. BBQ and the DUKTruck.

Shredded flank steak with a molasses-Shiner Bock barbecue sauce and a bright coriander-based pickle on top, a Mediterranean tossed salad, smoked deviled eggs with crab meat and cheesecake were among the various treats he served.

It took 22 members of his staff to keep the plates moving and to offer guests a personal explanation of what each dish was.

Lines were so long at Dady’s booth that the chef stayed more than an hour after the event ended to make sure everyone still waiting in line got to taste what he had to offer. We ran into Dady at The Monterey shortly before midnight where he was treating his staff to a late meal for the hard work they’d done.

Photographs by Bonnie Walker.

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